Hopewell Assault Lawyer
Assault cases are categorized as violent crimes against another person, often leading to the presumption that the charged individual is a violent person. Moreover, given the nature of assaults, there is a possibility of serious penalties and extensive jail sentences if convicted and if the offense if domestic in nature, a loss of the right to possess a firearm.
For this reason, a Hopewell assault lawyer should be contacted as soon as possible if charged or even accused. An experienced attorney who knows the law, the elements required for the state to meet its burden, and what possible defenses are available can play a significant role in creating a strong defense.
Assault Under Virginia Law
Assault can be defined as the intentional infliction of bodily harm on another person or the engagement in an overt action intended to place another person in fear of bodily harm.
There are numerous kinds of assault crimes in Hopewell. Misdemeanor assaults include simple assault, assault and battery, and domestic assault, while the more serious felony assault crimes are assault on law enforcement officers, and assault based on race, religion, gender, or nationality. No matter which type of assault an individual is charged with, a conviction can carry serious penalties and carry a number of long term consequences making it important a Hopewell assault lawyer is contacted as soon as possible.
It is also important to note that physical contact is not necessary for an act of assault to take place. Merely placing someone in a position in which that person has a reasonable apprehension of immediate harm or a fear of an unwanted physical contact is enough to complete the act of assault.
In layman’s terms, reasonable apprehension of immediate harm refers to fear of harm from an individual who has the present ability to enact such harm.
Assault is different from battery. While the penalty for each crime may be the same, the difference exists in the elements of the individual offenses. An assault is an attempt to harm someone where is there is no element of physical contact while an assault and battery requires both an attempt and physical contact.
How These Charges Are Treated
Hopewell officers treat assault cases very seriously. When called they are quick to respond and normally make arrests on the spot. If an arrest is not made, the officers will take statements, pictures and assist the victim in filing a complaint and securing a warrant so that an arrest can be made quickly.
Officers do not usually conduct a long investigation before arresting someone for assault but instead typically collect just enough information to secure a warrant prior to making an arrest. After the arrest is made, the commonwealth attorney’s office takes over the case and conducts further investigation as they prepare for trial.
Simple v. Aggravated
Simple assault, assault and battery, and domestic assault are Class One misdemeanors in Hopewell that have associated penalties of up to 12 months in jail and $2,500.00 in fines.
Aggravated assault includes assault on a law enforcement officer and assault based on race, religion, gender, or nationality. Both forms of aggravated assault are considered felonies, each of which is associated with distinct penalties. Assault on a law enforcement officer has a mandatory minimum incarceration of six-months, while assault based on race, religion, gender, or nationality has a mandatory minimum incarceration of 30 days. Both forms of aggravated assault are elevated to a Class Six felony, with associated penalties of up to five years in jail making it imperative an assault lawyer in Hopewell is contacted as soon as possible.
How a Lawyer Can Help
An experienced Hopewell assault attorney will look for videos, photos, statements, eye witness testimony, and any additional information that could be favorable to an individual who has been charged with assault. Such information is integral in the preparation of a proper defense to an assault case.
A lawyer can challenge the prosecution’s case by identifying inconsistencies in the Commonwealth’s witnesses. The attorney will also see if there exist any factors that could persuade witnesses to be dishonest or untruthful. In preparing and investigating an assault case, a lawyer will also identify relevant defenses, such as self-defense or lack of criminal intent that may result in a favorable outcome for the defendant.